Blank votes - UK and internationally
The Blank Vote is available as a choice in some electoral systems around the world. It provides the voter with the option to indicate her/his disapproval with all of the candidates in an election.
Like 'None of the Above', the Blank Vote is based on the important democratic principle that public support for elected candidates is only meaningful if people also had the option to show that they did not support any of the candidates.
'Blank Vote' is established practice in Spain (voto en blanco), France (vote blanc), Colombia (voto en blanco), and in the United States Green Party.
In France, voting machines include a blank
vote option. Here the BBC reports a young man's vote in
the presidential elections:
are links to two French organisations for the Blank Vote:
Association pour la reconnaissance du vote blanc www.vote-blanc.org
and Les Citoyens du Vote Blanc www.parti-du-vote-blanc.fr/
In Colombia, March 2014:
'With "Voto en Blanco" emerging as a more popular candidate than at least five other presidential hopefuls, Colombians have started to pay attention to this curious option.' http://colombiareports.co
In Spain, blank vote is an established tradition. We first heard about it when a good friend in Malaga described voting blank as the most important thing she could do. Here a campaign site responds to a doubtful citizen. www.votoenblanco.com/ To translate, it says:
'The Blank Vote is a democratic rejection of all the current political options, with a continued belief in democracy. It is the vote most appropriate when all the parties are corrupt, or when their intentions are not attractive, or when they breach these programs, or when they have exceeded their lawful power, or when they have perverted the system...'
Blank Vote in the UK?
We believe that a 'None of the Above' or 'Blank Vote' option should be provided in the UK. It is not good democracy if people only have a choice between supporting a candidate or not being counted.
The 2008 London Mayoral and Assembly elections set
the precedent for blank votes being formally
recognised and retained in results. In the Mayoral
election, 13,034 blank votes were cast, and in the Assembly
Member election, 39,894 blank votes were cast. http://static.london.gov.uk/gla/elections/mayoral/
At www.blankvote.org.uk we previously suggested leaving a ballot paper completely blank. However, there is a danger of fraud - someone else could add a vote on your ballot paper. It could also be argued that the voter intention was not clear.
Don't leave your vote Blank. Write NONE across your ballot paper, and put a line through all the boxes.
Protest votes will count when enough people vote NONE, and so make their votes newsworthy
Voting NONE is a democratic rejection of all the candidates : even when the government does not include the option to vote Blank or 'None of the Above'.
If you want a better democracy and politics in the UK, vote for a candidate who you trust and want to represent you, or vote NONE.